John Tobin (John Wayne) is after the bandit Zanti (Earl Dwire) who killed his parents.
He finds him just as Zanti is about to kill Dusty (George Hayes) and kidnap Ruby (Sheila Terry). Saving the two, he goes after Zanti.
In true "B" western fashion, the good guys win out over the baddies and guess who gets the girl.
August 23, 2011
Unlike the 'true "B" western fashion', the good guys win out in these Paul Malvern/John Wayne films mainly because Wayne's characters outsmart and out-persist the baddies. Malvern hired writers who were often capable of producing sufficiently twisty plot lines and maintaining enough tension to draw in the audience and keep things interesting. When combined with Wayne's acting ability (yes, he could act, and he showed it in these early films where he was young and full of energy, before he took to coasting on his name recognition), and his repertory of maneuvers (both trick riding and other sorts), the result was an eminently watchable series of films that eventually propelled Wayne into the "A" features list.
This film makes use of one of the more common tropes to be found in Westerns and many other similar stories in other genres: the dumb-as-rocks law enforcement that always manages to put the collar on the wrong person. The sheriff of this film makes up for his profound lack of intelligence by "I tell ya, I don't trust nobody!" We soon discover that his sociopathic mean streak is further augmented by his inclination to take the credit for other people's work. He's a politician, you see, more concerned for his reputation than his people's welfare. Therefore, Tobin (Wayne) must catch the Bad Guy and his gang while defeating a rotten sheriff who is determined to clap Tobin in irons. This gives Wayne plenty of opportunity to show his stuff, and us more story to watch. ;)
The sheriff does take a fall in the end, but he doesn't fall hard enough to suit me, which is why I call it "somewhat satisfying." Nevertheless, of the Malvern/Wayne films I've seen here on IA, the writing and performances make this one of the better ones (IMO, of course).
I think one of the things that surprises me most about this series is how well preserved the films are for their age. Unfortunately, though, the prints are blurred just enough that I cannot recognize the groups of people who are riding hither, thither, and yon in many of the chase scenes (are they the outlaw's gang, the sheriff's posse, or—?), which makes it impossible to follow some of the story details. That disappoints me because I usually want to get everything out of a film that the producers worked hard to put in there. What I could get made it well worth watching, though.